#116 - Pictionary (The 1989 Version)
Why must Dan Enright suck so hard?
Syndication: (June - September 1989 )
Jack Barry was a genius. He helped create some of the genre's most memorable formats. He created Concentration, Twenty-One, The Joker's Wild, Tic Tac Dough, among other great programs. Not only that, he hosted a few of them and was a very proficient host. Famous for hosting The Joker's Wild & Twenty-One, he made his mark in the game show world. Sadly, he passed on in 1984 while running in central park due to cardiac arrest. He was a legend in the industry.
Dan Enright on the other hand, was a complete putz. After being the main enemy of the TV world by creating the quiz show scandals, he fled to Canada to help make the horrendous, All About Faces among other low-level quizzers for the network. When he took over after Jack Barry's death, all the shows under that umbrella of Jack Barry/Dan Enright productions went through several changes. Richard Kline, Ron Greenberg, Allen Koss and others departed, leaving the production company went without shows when 1986 hit. He managed to get a international hit in 1987 with Chain Letters and a cable hit in 1987 with Bumper Stumpers, but that can be attributed to the skillful hosting of Al Dubois and Wink Martindale doing most of the heavy lifting on that. So, when 1989 hit, he saw the syndication market having experiencing Kids Game Show Fever, thanks to the success of Double Dare and Fun House. He decides to take a popular board game and make it for kids. He comes up with Pictionary.
The host for this show is Brian Robbins. Before I talk about his hosting, I am getting terrible flashbacks about his hair. His hair is the exact same style worn by suckbuckets like Kenny G, Pat Bullard, Scott Sternberg and Michael Bolton. His hosting is really lame. He just goes through the motions and doesn't seem to care about the show at all, and for good damned reason. The only time he got excited was when he got to introduce this gal.
This Vanna Wannabe is Felicity, also known as Julie Friedman. Her role was pretty useless. All she did was work that could have easily been done by Brian. She introduced the subjects for round one and turn the knobs for the score. Oh, I'll get to that piece of junk in a bit. She was pretty much eye candy and didn't help out much during the show. It should be noted that she was absent for quite a few weeks during the run. To this day, it's still not known.
And like the chef on Baloney, here we have the only good part of the show, Judge Mental.
Thank you high. I agree, terrible name.
Anyways, his real name is Rick Zumwalt. He was a professional Arm Wrestler, best known as being one of the guys that had to take on Stallone on Over The Top. Here, he proved he was also a damned good actor. I mean, he played his role of judge to a T. I mean, he also could explain the rules to each round better than Brian possibly could. Why couldn't he have been the host instead? I guess he would have intimidated the contestants with his presence. I mean, just looking at him gives me the heebie-jeebies.
The game play is also a mess. Two teams of 3 competed, split up by genders. The first round has Felicity giving two categories that one team gets to chose from. Then they have one person run to the telestrator and has 20 seconds to draw a picture. If they do it, then they score a point. If they don't, then the picture is gone and they have to switch places with one of their teammates. After 60 seconds is up, the other team gets to have a turn. Team with the most pictures guessed correctly gets 10 points. And how do they keep score?
By Felicity turning a knob and colored ping pong balls would fall into a container up to the point marker. Why couldn't' they just have put two monitors where the contestants were. I mean, this was Barry-Enright. They were famous for bringing computer technology into game shows with Tic Tac Dough and Hot Potato and Bumper Stumpers. This was just pathetic. Another gripe is the telestrator itself. Sometimes the background that they have up for the round distracts from the drawing itself and makes it almost impossible to decipher. This would have been so much better with just a regular pad and pens.
Round 2 has the teams trying to solve a puzzle. Only one member of each time draws the pictures that the team has to guess. Each picture is a clue to the puzzle. After 60 seconds is up, then the team can guess the puzzle. If they get it, it's 10 points. If they fail, then their opponents get 30 seconds to draw and get more clues. If they get it, 10 points. I don't get why the other team needs the 30 seconds, since sometimes it adds nothing new to the clue board. Not only that, this is a total rip-off of the opening rounds of Win, Lose or Draw. I mean, Seriously, can't Dan Enright do anything right with his own show?
Final round features a 90 second speed round with one member of each team at the telestrator drawing pictures. Once a team figures it out, they buzz in and guess. If they are right, they get a point. If wrong, then the other team gets free reign for the next 20 seconds. After 90 seconds the team with the most pictures gets 30 points and more often than not wins the game. I hate final rounds where you can be vegan and still win the damned game.
And if that wasn't bad enough, we have this horrific set-up. It's called the Waterworks.
One member of the winning team has to connect two hoses together in order to transfer water to the second member of the team who is standing underneath a spicket where the water will be coming out.
He puts a pitcher above his head and fills it....
to where player three runs to the station where he pours the water to reveal a famous person.
After 90 seconds of boring ass television, they get 10 more seconds to think about the picture and guess who it is. If they are right, they win the grand prize. Not only is this end game boring, it's completely tacked on to appear that they added mess to the show. But the problem is that the mess isn't mess. It's water and you get wet, and not messy. It's just to fill the kids show stereotype of "mess = ratings". The problem is that Double Dare and Fun House and Finders Keepers all had well-rounded formats that made sense. This show has none of that. There isn't any drawing in the final round, it's just pathetic.
It shouldn't be a shock to anybody that this lasted all of 13 weeks before it was axed and Dan Enright was left to licking his wounds and being married to Susan Stafford. To be fair, Brian Robbins actually managed to become hugely successful after this, making All That, Kenan and Kel, Smallville and my mom's favorite teen drama One Tree Hill. In closing, a slapped on format, a terrible set, a lackluster host/hostess duo and a completely disjointed end game torpedo this already hole-filled ship. Dan would continue to suck through the 1990 season where he gave us 3 more bombs in Hold Everything!, All About The Opposite Sex, and Tic Tac Dough with Patrick Wayne, before hanging it up. Let this be a lesson to all: Just because you were associated with a genius in the past, doesn't make you one either.
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